I started thinking about his very thing a little more. Moms spend a lot of time making sure they give their kids "the very best" even if its just a family blog with "the very best" template background. I recently read an amazing article about the pressure today's mom puts on herself by looking through various magazines, Pinterest, and Facebook. The temptation to compare is severe, and the outcome almost always leaves me feeling unworthy.
Last March, for Emily's birthday, she asked me if I would make her red velvet cupcakes. Now I've never made red velvet anything. Is it a southern thing? Because I don't remember eating them growing up either. Regardless, I set out to my favorite Publix determined to make "the very best red velvet cupcakes" ever. No mind that I hadn't made them before. No box cake mix for me, no sir! I would make only the best for my sweet Emily! I was armed with my iPhone and a list of ingredients that Paula Dean assured me would leave those first graders amazed. It was if somehow the most important thing in life was to be deemed Cupcake Goddess by a class of seven year olds.
I came home and baked, frosted, and sprinkled until I had what I thought was the very best cupcake ever. The batter had baked up creating the perfect "cupcake top." I had mixed up a batch of my homemade frosting, and piped it on with my special frosting tip. I had matched the sprinkles to the cupcake paper perfectly. These were some dynamite cupcakes if I do say so myself!
Scott had eaten one, and had deemed them a success. I anxiously waited for Em to get out of the shower to come downstairs and marvel at the cupcakes. When she finally made her way downstairs, she gasped. "Oh mommy! Those are fabulous! I bet they taste even better! I can't wait to bring them to school mommy! Oh thank you! I bet these are going to be the best happy birthday cupcakes we've ever had in our class!"
Then she walked away, and I beamed. Success!
She got half-way up the stairs, and turned around and came back down. She bursted by over-sized cupcake bubble with this,
"Well mommy. Did I ever tell you about the cupcakes Anne's* mom made for our class? Because they were really pretty too. And they tasted so good! I bet your cupcakes will taste just as good as the cupcakes Anne's mommy made"
I thought to myself, "Okay, I can handle coming in with a tie to Anne's mommy. That's not so bad, right"
But then Emily let the final blow fly when she said, "But the thing about Anne's mommy... she waited for our entire class to eat them..." (she said this with extreme enthusiasm) "... and when we were all done and there was frosting over all our faces and we were saying how good they were, Anne's mommy waited for us to be completely totally done eating. And then Anne's mommy told us that there was actually zucchini and tomato juice in those cupcakes! Can you believe it mom? Anne's mommy made cupcakes that were pretty, they tasted so good, AND they had an entire serving of vegetables! That's amazing, huh mom?"
With that, my sweet Emily walked back up the stairs to brush her teeth. I looked over at Scott who was pretending to read the newspaper to conceal his wide eyes and sheepish grin.
And then I burst out laughing. Right then and there my life had turned in to a sit-com. I had the power to turn the ending in to a sobbing emotional wreck of a mommy moment (think Debra from Everybody Loves Raymond) or I could turn it into a Hallmark Hall of Fame moment where I realized that my love to my daughter doesn't exist through the perfection of red velvet cupcakes. (Cue cheesy music here.)
The entire thing was rather hysterical.
Now, on Mother's Day, I look back on this and pray that somehow I will find and maintain that balance between wanting to do and be all that I can for my sweet Emily, Elsie, and Eli, but also catch myself from comparing to others. There are many things I will never learn to do. But I have to constantly remind myself that my kids don't care so much about things I do, create, make, or achieve as much as they care about me loving them. And as long as they know how much I love them, it doesn't matter if my cupcakes don't have vegetables in them!
*I changed Emmy's friend's name :)